UK Newswire Archive
We marked the start of Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing and his 24th birthday in Wales with four days of solidarity action: in Wrexham on Friday morning and in Cardiff on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
20-12-2011 23:21An investigation by the Public Accounts Committee has calculated there is £25 BILLION in outstanding corporate tax, which is bigger than the UK budget deficit for 2002. This report vindicates UK Uncut, Occupy groups and anti-austerity protests, and in terms of the movement breaking-out of its cultural ghetto and linking with mass culture, the most important lesson for radicals is that there is outrage about this "from across the political spectrum", with even the right-wing Daily Telegraph admitting that "Conservatives should support left-wing campaign groups when they’re in the right".....
As the LSX occupation prepares to present its case at the High Court yesterday, members of Occupy London alongside a group of military veterans – Occupy Veterans – have liberated a disused court house in London’s East End. The opening of Occupy London’s fourth occupation, will see the movement conducting “trials of the one per cent” in an abandoned magistrate’s court building which has lain empty since 1996, despite its prime location and grade II listing. 
The occupation of the Old Street Magistrate’s Court (335-337 Old Street, London Borough of Hackney), now renamed Occupy Justice, took place early on Tuesday morning. It was opened by Occupy London supporters and Occupy Veterans coming together led by the Occupy London’s ‘Tank of Ideas’, the movement’s armoured peace vehicle.
The new residents, who include members of Occupy Veterans – a group of former and active-duty servicemen and women drawn from the 99 per cent – have pledged to maintain a residence at the courthouse, to take good care of the building and to provide daytime use of the facilities for Occupy London to put the one per cent on trial. The residents have already spoken with the various stakeholders of the building and are looking to develop an open dialogue.
This fourth occupation joins the existing OccupyLSX camp by St Paul’s Cathedral, the Finsbury Square occupation and the Bank of Ideas, the abandoned multi million pound office complex of UBS on Sun Street, which Occupy London liberated in an act of ‘public reposession’ – now a thriving arts and community centre.
The one per cent on trial at Occupy Justice
Working with solicitors to construct cases based on English law, Occupy Justice will provide a much needed space to bring a sense of accountability to those whose actions have been in contravention of the public interest. These will not be show trials, but public airings of wrongdoing perpetuated by those in positions of authority. Occupy London will work hard to present solid legal arguments for scrutiny in the court of public opinion.
Initial cases will be announced shortly against those who have tanked the global economy, slashed Britain’s social services, stripped people of their civil rights and repeatedly lied the nation into war. It is expected that most cases will be heard in absentia.
Adam Fitzmaurice, Occupy London supporter and new resident of Occupy Justice said that the intention is to put the building back into public service, to satisfy a need for justice that the relevant authorites have so far been unable to meet: “The government has been unable – or more likely, unwilling – to bring those responsible for the worst economic disaster since the 1930s to justice, so the people have to assume those roles.”
“The way UBS owned Sun Street Properties has behaved towards the Bank of Ideas, with blatant disregard for fair procedure, shows how many of the most powerful financial institutions behave as if they were above the law. Occupy Justice are going to redress that balance. Unlike UBS, we’ll afford our defendants due process, but we do intend to hold people to account.”
Joe Glenton, a member of Occupy Veterans and former Lance Corporal who served with the Royal Logistics corps in Afghanistan explained: “Many people join the military to see justice spread throughout the world, but the reality doesn’t always match up to the promise. In theUK, the courts are meant to serve the people, but here too it feels like the courts are never allowed to hear charges against the one per cent. That’s why Occupy Veterans has come together to march in solidarity with Occupy London, and the wider global Occupy movement, in the aim of achieving justice, as well as a more just society, for all.”
20-12-2011 18:04The Iraqi government intends to close down Camp Ashraf, home to 3400 Iranian dissidents, by 31st December 2011. This is in direct contravention to the residents' rights as protected persons under the Geneva Convention. Previous attacks by Iraqi forces at the behest of the Iranian regime have resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of people. This next imminent attack will be the worst to date, if it is not prevented.
20-12-2011 16:41Fr. Martin Newell was released from Pentonville / London today after serving a sentence for cutting into Northwood Headquarters on the "Feast of Innocents" 2008
Northwood Headquarters in resistance to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Former police inspector, Russell Dew, pleaded guilty to sexually touching a 13 year old girl and has been imprisoned for 6 years. He joins other officers such as Sergeant Darren Dearling on the sexual offenders register. Dew committed the offences whilst a serving police officer in Newark last year. In a sick twist he helped set up a centre for victims of abuse in Croydon.
It is natural that, when given a position of power over others as all police officers are, that many will abuse that power for personal gain. It is also natural that individuals who want to have power over others will join the police force in order to get that power. From administering beatings to intimidating photographers to lying through their teeth, abuses of power are rife within the police force and many officers clearly believe that they are above the law.
As long as we have a police force we will have predatory, abusive cops. No reforms will change that.
20-12-2011 12:48Following the November 30 strike, BUCU were sent a confidential document by UoB HR which threatens BUCU through claims that members behaved unlawfully and/or unreasonably during the picketing on 30th November.
20-12-2011 11:14The Bank of Ideas in Sun Street, Hackney will be showing the film Battle in Seattle on Saturday the 24th of December at 8pm about the November 1999 mass protest against the World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle which kicked off the global anti-capitalist movement,
20-12-2011 06:32EGYPTIAN police and soldiers fired weapons and used batons and teargas for a fifth day on Tuesday in the latest security operation to clear Cairo's central Tahrir Square of opponents of army rule.
I would like to URGENTLY draw everybody's attention to a case of state-organised racism and brutality inflicted upon a refugee couple and their fourteen-month-old baby resident in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Last Saturday, Annet Mercy Makaika from Malawi, her baby Princess, and her husband Frank Wuteron from Uganda, were awoken in the night by a UK Border Agency "snatch squad" who dramatically demolished her front door then assaulted Annet so severely, taking her into custody, that she still cannot hold or feed her baby.
The charity Barnados have offered immediate assistance, and have documented details of Annet's injuries and photographs. They are also temporarily taking care of the child since Annet was badly injured by sadistic government officials acting unlawfully towards this peaceful, law-abiding asylum seeker and her family.
To appease virulent rightwing tabloid newspapers who campaign ferociously against immigration, such as the Sun, Star, Daily Mail and the Daily Express, the Home Office have stepped up their campaign of terror inflicted upon victims of human rights abuses committed worldwide, allowing their agents to use extreme force in deporting asylum seekers from the United Kingdom in a manner befitting of the abusive regimes these traumatised human beings have escaped from.
The couple are settled in Doncaster, and were enjoying the merits of family life as members of the community, when Annet was selected by government bureaucrats for immediate deportation, deliberately and inhumanely splitting the married couple without care of the consequences for Annet's safety and the welbeing of her young child.
As if that wasn't enough, the cruel and brutal means of enforcement contravenes every last vestige of international human rights law. Hardened criminals are treated less violently by the state when arrested, compared to the ordeals of asylum seekers whose peaceful presence poses absolutely no theat to the safety of this country.
The extreme brutality inflicted upon Annet in-front of her young baby, is undoubedly a reflection of the pure sadism of the snatch squad. The injuries inflicted upon her are beyond belief. The cowards stamped viciously on her arms, and knelt on her to keep her pinned to the ground, even though she was not putting up a struggle. Whatever their motivation, whether they disliked foreigners and people with darker skins, one thing is for sure, it is hard to believe the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry findings changed Home Office proceedures.
Sometimes the police are present when they present warrants of entry, but in this case, they acted alone, beating up Annet and forcibly removing the married couple naked, treating them like animals, in a way quite befitting of totalitarian regimes not a democratic Western country.
Some people will remember the Joy Gardner case, and might or might not be astonished to know racism and brutality is still alive and kicking in the Civil Service.
Legal action will be taken against the Home Office, and hopefully arrests will be made of the thuggish sadists who inflicted severe injuries on this innocent mother, but your help as concerned citizens would be very much appreciated.
Despite her shocking injuries and the South Yorkshire Constabulary taking an active interest in the case, investigating the assault by the cowboys employed to do the state's dirty work, the cold and clinical UK Border Agency machine is continuing to plough ahead with the deportation of Annet, and have informed her husband Frank that he will only see their baby again if he signs a form to renownce citizenship and leave the country himself.
In the long term, the battle will be a legal one, and will be lengthy, maybe involving the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights, and with more and more publicity for the incident, the state won't be able to brush it under the carpet. In the short term, urgent assistance is needed to ensure Annet and her baby are not rushed out of the United Kingdom before the police can conduct thorough criminal investigations.
They are booked to leave tomorrow at seven pm on a Kenya Airways flight to Malawi, and if they are allowed on-board the plane, not only will their lives be at risk on arrival at the end of their journey, any ongoing investigations against the violent actions of their UK government-employed assailants will automatically be shelved, meaning the thuggish assailants will be unleashed upon further refugees and asylum seekers.
Under international air travel regulations, the final decision to carry a passenger on-board an aircraft lies solely with the pilot, and airline bosses are free to suggest not to carry any particular passenger or otherwise, for whatever reason.
Please immediately contact Kenya Airways to seek the company's lawful intervention in this matter, so they make a moral decision not to allow their travel service to carry this brutalised asylum seeker and her child to danger.
A suggested letter of complaint follows:
Also, please forward this message to as many people as possible, including concerned MPs and MEPs, to make sure OUR VOICES CANNOT BE IGNORED!!!
Facebook and Twitter are our friends. Use them to publicise the case ASAP!!!
A Concerned Citizen!
PLEASE E-MAIL TO: Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager at Kenya Airways: email@example.com
And also phone them on: on 02087597366, 02082831800 or fax: 02087455027
Subject: ANNET MERCY MAKAIKA - URGENT
For the attention of Sam Okwulehie - Group Area Manager - Kenya Airways
FLIGHT NUMBER KQ101, 20 December, 2011: ANNET MERCY MAKAIKA AND PRINCESS ABIGAIL WUTERON: HOME OFFICE REF: M1419630/2
Dear Sam Okwulehie
I am writing to urge you not to carry Annet Mercy Makaika and Princess Abigail (14 months old baby) on your Flight no. 101 leaving at 7pm on 20th December, 2011 from Heathrow Airport to Malawi.
Annet Mercy Makaika has been badly injured when she was forcibly taken during a dawn raid and has serious bruising on her body, especially on her hands, and cannot even hold or feed the baby because her arms were stepped on and knelt on. She and her 14 months old baby have been separated from her husband Frank Wuteron. The baby needs her father and UKBA wants to deport the baby leaving her Ugandan father behind. This amounts to a serious human rights violation and taking her on your flight would certainly not reflect well on your company. I have heard that Barnados has taken pictures of Annet's injuries which are stark evidence of UKBA's brutality during the process of enforced removal. I do hope that you will give consideration to this request and to the many others that you will receive.
I understand that the decision about whether to take a passenger lies solely with the airline and the pilot and urge you not to take these vulnerable people doing so automatically damages the reputation of your company which for some reasons complies with UKBA in deporting asylum seekers.
Occupy London has been given at least three more weeks use of its repossessed Bank of Ideas space.
Protesters have been squatting in a disused USB building on Sun Street in Hackney, London, since November 18. They took it over in an act of "public repossession" and renamed the office block the Bank of Ideas. Since taking over, groups have used the space for art, activism, films, health, and political discussions and workshops.
Representatives from the Bank of Ideas appeared in the High Court today to seek permission to appeal the injunction and possession order sought by the UBS investment bank, that was granted on November 18 by the High Court.
The protesters were seeking to appeal the short notice they were given over the initial court appearance when the injunction and possession order were granted. This was done at a special night hearing, conducted over the phone between UBS lawyers and Mrs Justice Proudman on November 18. The occupy protesters were given less than 45 minutes notice by text message of the hearing, and were not told when or when it would take place.
Today, Lord Justice Lloyd gave protesters permission to appeal after January 11, when the courts will reopen after the festive season.
Lawyer Stephen Knafler QC representing the Bank of Ideas told the judge today "there was no notice at all there was to be a hearing and how the defendants could take part in it."
He said there was no reason for the claimants to breach normal judicial processes to get an injunction.
He said UBS' claims of health and safety concerns were unfounded.
Occupiers at the hearing were pleased with the result and applauded the judge, and exchanged high-fives and hugs between them.
The Bank of Ideas is now calling for more people to get involved to make it have "the best workshops and talks in town."
As the City of London Corporation announces a pay-freeze for the most poorly paid workers in the Square Mile, publishing their City Cash Accounts is more necessary than ever.
As Christmas approaches, the City of London Corporation has announced it is to freeze wages for the most poorly paid workers in the city, claiming it as a necessary measure to help plug the gap left by central government cuts in spending and a result of the current "economic crisis".
"With living costs soaring across the capital, London's low paid need all the help they can get", Trade Union Council Regional Secretary for London, Megan Dobney said a month ago. Yet in the City of London - the richest local authority in the United Kingdom, the doors have been closed on any further discussion of an equitable pay rise for staff.
Unions had originally asked for an increase of 2.5% to protect their members from the current collapse in living standards across the Capital and to reflect the high levels of inflation which have made London the 18th most expensive city in the world, at the same time that wages for the poorest have been eroded to unsustainable levels.
However, the City refused the unions' request in a rapacious act - offering a one-off payment of £250, which for a billionaire entity that has evolved over the centuries into a zone of almost total financial freedom seems at best miserly and at worst downright cruel. And it's hardly Big Society stuff either Mr Cameron, if you're listening (not that the Prime Minister is likely to play the role of Jacob Marley to the Corporation any time soon).
Indeed, the one-off payment on offer for some of the lowliest paid employees in the City represents an increase of just five pounds a week - which for some of the Capital's poorest families doesn't even reflect the price of a week's prepaid electricity. Factor in all the other issues in the local economy such as Mayor Boris Johnson's 50% increase in bus fares and the additional cost for families (who as a result of the government's housing policy have been forced further away from inner city workplaces) and workers have been left tightening their belts to the point of suffocation.
Surely even the most privileged of us would acknowledge that a one-off payment of a few pounds a week for workers who are already earning below the bread-line is cold comfort for those struggling to make ends meet as a consequence of this Tory-led government's austerity measures?
Yet whilst the local authority has sought to pass the buck for leaving wage earners short, guests at the Lord Mayors banquet in the Mansion House this year shared no such concerns with the cleaners tidying up after them - tucking into extravagant delicacies such as filet of beef and vintage Chablis and toasting the destabilising financial markets with debauched extravagance as they dined the night away in the company of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Although the Greater London Authority (not to be confused with the Square Mile itself) claims on its website that ‘nearly all major banks in London pay the London Living Wage', this does not apply to the City of London as a local authority or to its contracted workers. All this despite the existence of the city's multi-billion pound City Cash Account (which it refuses to publish and exempts from Freedom of Information requests) and despite official recognition by the GLA that Londoners paid less than £8.30 an hour end up living below the poverty line.
In stark contrast with the GLA (where more than 3,000 employees receive the 'living wage') cleaning staff employed under contract from the Corporation are left almost destitute. In fact, the sole contribution that the foremost financial centre in the world has made to the poorest people in the Capital is an audacious attempt to blame them for what it describes as a "lack of financial literacy" - effectively accusing the poorest of themselves being responsible for the hardship that millions in London endure, rather than the financial service industries who wrecked the economy in the first place.
Maybe that comes as no surprise, but from an institution that has demonstrated the most disturbing levels of financial ‘illiteracy' ever since the big bang of the 1980s, isn't this an example of hypocrisy at its most patronising as well as being a false statement? After all, the entire country is still paying the price for the City's most recent failures. If the middle is being ‘squeezed' then those on the rungs beneath them are simply being kicked into the City's long grass and trampled all over.
In fact, the whole issue of Corporation underpay is such a cause for concern, that in an early day motion tabled by Labour back bencher John McDonnell in September this year the City was urged to raise the wages of its cleaners to above subsistence levels. However, in an act of Dickensian penny-pinching they refused, despite research conducted by Queen Mary University of London, which has estimated that the London Living Wage has lifted almost 10,000 workers from poverty since its introduction in 2005.
It's no surprise then either that the Corporation turned down the Unions' request for fair pay for wage earners. The only reason Boris Johnson supports the 'living wage', which was introduced by his predecessor Ken Livingstone, is because he realised Londoners would kick him out of City Hall if he didn't - a scenario that is unlikely to occur in the undemocratic City of London, where close-fisted corporations have voting rights over local residents and where those who work the hardest are sent straight to the treadmill while those at the top laugh all the way to the bank.
With Christmas fast approaching and many workers simply unable to budget appropriately from their meagre wage packets - with declining living standards and living costs that spiral each day - the City's 'great wage refusal' is surely a massive indictment of 21st century capitalism.
The Ghosts of 'Christmas Past, Present, and Christmas Yet to Come' are surely due to come knocking on the doors of the Mansion House in the next week but it's doubtful the Lord Mayor would distinguish them from the protestors camped outside St Pauls Cathedral, let alone pay attention to them.
So this festive season, say a prayer for the City workers who will struggle to put food on the table next year as a result of the Corporation's greed. It's time for them to publish the City Cash Accounts in full. Jacob Marley - The City of London needs you more than ever.
'Merry Christmas one and all'.